DO take a moment to breathe, calm down and assess your body for injuries.
DO ensure that others involved in the collision are ok.
DO call 911 immediately and alert them of the collision.
DO move to a safe location if it is a minor collision and it seems necessary.
DO collect the information of all the drivers involved in the collision.
DO get contact information from all passengers and witnesses.
DO take pictures of the collision scene and all information and damage applicable to the collision (cars, telephone poles, debris, skid marks, landmarks to document location, license plates, etc.) NOTE: If taking pictures of the scene puts you at risk for further injury, i.e. busy freeway, wait and have law enforcement help you do this). Pictures of the vehicle(s) and the scene helps us envision the forces that your body would have likely experienced at the moment(s) of impact and will help guide the medical examination and potential diagnostic studies (x-rays and scans).
DO take progressive photos of every bruise and scrape sustained in the collision. Remember bruising may not show up until several days later so keep watching, and keep taking pictures until the injuries have disappeared. This is important documentation of injury severity and healing and will guide decision making on whether to conduct special medical diagnostic scans or not.
DO ask your auto insurance if you have PIP (Personal Injury Protection). Not all US states have a PIP program. If you are insured in a state which does have PIP, and your auto insurer tells you that you do not have PIP, request that they prove it to you by showing you the form, which they must, by law, where you to signed to reject your PIP coverage. PIP is required and you must willingly sign a release to decline. PIP can help cover medical costs for up to three years after the accident no matter who is at fault. (Note: PIP only applies to certain US states and not Canada)
DO file an incident report if the police were not dispatched to the scene.
DO make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. Whether you feel awful or not, get checked out! Some injuries do not manifest until weeks, even months later, but will be evident upon a thorough medical examination.
DO defer commentary on the state of your injury to your doctors and treatment providers, as they are the ones qualified to provide injury status and prognosis and treatment recommendations.
DO consult a qualified automobile collision lawyer about the most appropriate route to take with your insurance and the other party. It is free advice, and there may be components to your case that need a detailed explanation.
DO NOT discuss the collision with others involved. ONLY discuss the collision with the police. Simply state what you believe happened, and remember that it is not your job to draw conclusions on whose fault it was.
DO NOT tell your insurance company you are feeling ok/fine/etc when you call an adjuster from the scene of the collision. You are full of adrenaline, and may not be aware of the injuries you have sustained. You will generally know within a week whether you are fine/ok/etc., once your adrenaline has worn off and you have had a chance to monitor your daily activities for difficulties and discomfort.
DO NOT allow your drivers license to be photographed. Protect your identity. Simply provide your name and vehicle insurance information.
DO NOT discuss how you are doing, your injuries, either past or present, or anything related to the collision with your insurance or the other party’s insurance company when they call you “to see how you are doing”. Always defer commentary on your injury state to your doctors, as they are the ones qualified to make those judgments.